Only 13% of Americans Watch As Their President Is Heckled
For those of you who weren't transfixed by the clueless auditioning on last night's So You Think You Can Dance, you might have tuned in for a little thing called President Obama's Health Care speech. Sure, Obama and Vice President Biden did not enter the joint session of Congress with a Mia Michaels choreographed routine set to Chicago's "All That Jazz," but they did have another kind of show stopper: a heckler.
Last night's presidential speech garnered a "combined 13.2 rating in the early metered markets across NBC, ABC and CBS," according to TV by the Numbers. This would mean over a 3% fall in viewership from last July's health care press coverage, which pulled a combined 16.3 rating.
In case you weren't part of the above percentage, watch the clip below as South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson bellows "You lie," in response to the president's claim that health care for all Americans will not result in insuring illegal immigrants. Wilson released an apology later last night: "This evening I let my emotions get the best of me. While I disagree with the president's statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility."
Although Wilson's remarks did mark an extraordinary breach of decorum, maybe this will turn around the ratings for future presidential speeches.
· In Lawmaker's Outburst, a Rare Breach of Protocol[New York Times]